“Throughout my career, I have successfully mediated hundreds of cases. I enjoy settlement mediations because they give my clients a day where the entire focus of the parties is on the resolution of their case. “Susan Sadow, Founding Attorney
Mediation is an excellent means by which attorneys can secure an extremely favorable settlement outcome for their clients’ workers’ compensation cases. When cases are mediated, if the following tips are shared with clients before the mediation, they will lead to the best possible results.
5 Points that Must be Communicated to Clients Prior to Mediation
- Educate Your Client in Advance. Mediation is not the time for clients to be surprised. When clients attend a mediation, the settlement demand should already have been discussed with them in detail. As the mediation progresses, a properly prepared client will see that the mediation is proceeding exactly as you predicted.
- Manage Your Client’s Expectations. Clients must be educated about the parameters of the workers’ compensation system. It is the lawyer’s job to ensure that clients understand that workers’ compensation settlements differ dramatically from personal injury settlements. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system and the negligence of the parties is never considered. It is also essential to remind clients that there is no recovery for pain and suffering in workers’ compensation despite the severity of their injury.
- Prepare Clients for the Anticipated Length of Mediation. The first offer in almost every mediation is very low. Clients should never make a decision until the final offer is on the table. Mediation is always a process and often takes several hours before the final offer is made by the employer/insurer. Patience is essential for the process to work.
- Encourage Clients to Speak Up and Be Heard. Clients should be active participants in the mediation and ask any questions that come to mind. In many cases, this is also the first time that injured workers get to share their stories.
- Inform Clients that There Will be Ups and Downs. It is natural for there to be highs and lows throughout the mediation process. At times, a client may feel like the mediation is going nowhere. Over and over, however, mediations turn around and yield outstanding results even when the parties may have seemed to be at an impasse. When all parties involved remain calm and allow the process to unfold, the magic of mediation reveals itself.
It is very important to arm clients with all of the information they need so that they can make an educated decision when a final offer is on the table. This includes letting clients know what you anticipate will happen if their case does not settle at the mediation. That way, clients can weigh all the pros and cons of the final offer with their attorney and determine whether settling their case or remaining in the workers’ compensation system would be best for them and their families.
Sadow & Froy solely represents injured workers in workers’ compensations cases. The lead attorneys are highly respected in the field, having received many awards and named to several “Best of” lists including Atlanta Magazine’s Super Lawyer lists. To see if your case qualifies for workers’ compensation, visit our website for a free evaluation.